Business Journals: "The University of Maryland has won $10.3 million in stimulus funds for an advanced quantum science lab. The 21,000-square-foot Laboratory for Advanced Quantum Science will be built underground, boasting environmental controls to eliminate vibrations or changes in temperature. The Joint Quantum Institute, a partnership between the University of Maryland and the U.S. Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), will be the lab's primary user. The grant for the project was made through NIST. Construction is expected to begin this year at the university's flagship College Park campus and be complete by spring 2013. Quantum science tackles research in three areas: atomic, molecular and optical physics; condensed matter physics; and quantum information science. 'This remarkable laboratory will allow researchers to greatly improve our fundamental understandings of quantum science, with important implications for an array of technologies,'University of Maryland President C.D. Mote Jr. said in a statement."
UM Newsdesk: "The University of Maryland has been designated an Intelligence Community 'Center of Academic Excellence' by the U.S. government, the first higher education institution in the state to be selected for the program and one of only 14 universities participating nationwide. The program provides funding to enhance Maryland's ability to prepare students for government service and leadership positions in the Intelligence Community ($300,000 dollars annually for up to five years). The designation further aligns Maryland's flagship research university with the state's cyber security strategic plan expected to be announced today (Jan. 11) by Governor Martin O'Malley. As a Center of Academic Excellence, the University of Maryland will fortify instruction and create new educational opportunities and internships in a broad range of areas, from information and cyber security to foreign language acquisition, cross-cultural studies, mathematics, physical sciences and engineering. The first class affected by the program will begin this month: Intelligence as a National Security Instrument."
Chronicle of Higher Education: "President Obama announced on Wednesday (Jan. 6) a partnership between federal agencies and public universities to train thousands more mathematics and science teachers each year, part of the administration's effort to make American students more competitive globally in science, technology, engineering, and math. Leaders of 121 public universities have pledged to increase the total number of science and math teachers they prepare every year to 10,000 by 2015, up from the 7,500 teachers who graduate annually now. Forty-one institutions, including California's two university systems and the University of Maryland system, said they would double the number of science and math teachers they trained each year by 2015."
Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine's Top 100 Values at Public Universities
Washington Post:"The new year has just begun and already we have the first of what is sure to be a mountain of lists ranking schools in one way or another. Kiplinger's Personal Finance, which offers financial advice, today released its newest list of what it says are the best values in public higher education. The Kiplinger folks looked at different measures involving academic excellence and cost, and came up with their list. As has been true every year since Kiplinger's began making these lists in 1998, the top spot goes to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Following are the top 10, and you can see a lot more here, complete with sortable rankings. 1. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
2. University of Florida
3. University of Virginia
4. College of William and Mary (Va.)
5. Binghamton University (SUNY)
6. University of Georgia
7. University of Washington
8. University of Maryland, College Park
9. SUNY Geneseo
10. North Carolina State University
Shanghai Daily: "Students at the Robert. H. Smith School of Business devote their spare time to raising money to build libraries in impoverished villages around rural China, reports Sam Riley. Some of Shanghai's brightest business minds have joined forces to raise money for the education of some of China's most disadvantaged young people. Students, alumni and staff from the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business in Shanghai have successfully raised more than US$30,000 to build up to 20 rural libraries in orphanages and schools in Anhui Province. The Smith School's alumni fund-raiser benefits schools that will each receive a gift of 500 to 1,000 children's books, plus furniture or additional construction as needed. The school's China director and chief representative for the State of Maryland, Ning Shao, says it has been 30 years since Maryland and Anhui Province established sister-state relationships. It was one of the first of the sister-state relationships between China and the United States, and Ning says the fund-raising effort was one of the best ways to celebrate the relationship."
Washington Examiner: "Tuition will rise and perks will continue to vanish at local public colleges and universities walloped by state budget cuts, which are far from over. The cuts have come as enrollments have reached record highs, bolstered by affordable tuition compared with private schools and a push by school systems to create 'college-bound' students -- some ready, some not. The extent of further cuts this spring and next year will begin to emerge this month when Virginia and Maryland lawmakers tackle massive budget shortfalls as their legislatures convene. Lawmakers' eyes will be on 2012, too, when federal stimulus funds run out. In his proposed two-year budget, Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine recommended a jaw-dropping 26 percent cut to public higher education beginning in fiscal 2012. Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley is expected to release his fiscal 2011 budget by midmonth, which will try to close next year's $2 billion budget gap and likely will include more cuts to the current budget. Tuition increases are likely to hit everywhere from the University of Virginia to Montgomery College, though amounts have not been determined. Even O'Malley's highly touted three-year-old tuition freeze at the University of Maryland 'was never meant to last forever,' spokesman Shaun Adamec said."
Associated Press: "Bookseller Barnes & Noble Inc. is launching a textbook rental program for college students, making it the newest entrant in a growing field. The new program, available though campus bookstores or the stores' Web sites began as a pilot program in three of its 636 campus bookstores in the fall. It has now been expanded to 25 bookstores. Some college bookstores that will offer the program include Ohio State University, The University of Maryland, Borough of Manhattan Community College and University of South Carolina. Barnes & Noble said books will rent for 42.5 percent of their original price, so a $100 book would cost $42.50 to rent for the entire term. Textbooks can be rented at books stores or online -- with orders shipped to a campus bookstore. College students spend about $667 per year on required course materials, according to the National Association of College Stores."
Science & Technology
Associated Press: "A group of scientists called on the federal government ... to stop mountaintop removal mining, arguing dozens of existing studies on the practice prove its ecological impacts are 'pervasive and irreversible.' In a Policy Forum opinion piece for Friday's issue of the journal Science, 12 researchers from Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina and West Virginia argue the effects are clear, and federal regulators must stop ignoring what they call 'rigorous science.' In a teleconference Thursday, lead author Margaret Palmer of the University of Maryland acknowledged it is unusual for scientists to offer a political position on their research but said her colleagues 'all agree the evidence is overwhelming.' The National Mining Association, however, said some of the scientists have testified as expert witnesses for environmental groups and have what she considers 'a long-standing feud' with the industry. Palmer acknowledged she and two other scientists have testified in mining cases but said the team's time was donated, and its work was not funded by any organization."
Baltimore Sun: "People who argue that the hot air rising out of Washington makes things worse for the rest of us might have stumbled onto something. Scientists at the University of Maryland, College Park have discovered that heat from the capital's buildings and pavement during the summer can stoke higher temperatures, humidity and dangerous air pollution downwind in Baltimore. 'It isn't a simple matter of, "It's hotter in Washington, and that hot air blows into Maryland," ' said Russell R. Dickerson, a professor in UM's Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science and a co-author of the study. The heat rising from Washington's urban 'heat island' actually slows the prevailing winds headed toward Baltimore, reducing their beneficial cooling and cleansing effects, he said. Slowed further by cross-breezes off the Chesapeake Bay, the air stagnates over Baltimore. That can raise temperatures here 2 degrees to 3 degrees higher than they would otherwise be and worsen Baltimore's particulate and ozone air pollution."
Asian News International: "An international team of scientists has found that individual galactic objects have less ordinary matter, relative to dark matter, than does the Universe as a whole. Scientists believe that all ordinary matter, the protons and neutrons that make up people, planets, stars and all that we can see, are a mere fraction - some 17 percent - of the total matter in the Universe. The protons and neutrons of ordinary matter are referred to as baryons in particle physics and cosmology. The remaining 83 percent apparently is the mysterious 'dark matter,' the existence of which is inferred largely from its gravitational pull on visible matter. According to University of Maryland astronomer Stacy McGaugh, dark matter is presumed to be some new form of non-baryonic particle - the stuff scientists hope the Large Hadron Collider in CERN will create in high energy collisions between protons. McGaugh and his colleagues posed the question of whether the "universal" ratio of baryonic matter to dark matter holds on the scales of individual structures like galaxies. 'One would expect galaxies and clusters of galaxies to be made of the same stuff as the universe as a whole, so if you make an accounting of the normal matter in each object, and its total mass, you ought to get the same 17 percent fraction,' he said. 'However, our work shows that individual objects have less ordinary matter, relative to dark matter, than you would expect from the cosmic mix; sometimes a lot less,' he added."
Red Orbit: "In two new videos from NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft, bright flashes of light known as sun glints act as beacons signaling large bodies of water on Earth. These observations give scientists a way to pick out planets beyond our solar system (extrasolar planets) that are likely to have expanses of liquid, and so stand a better chance of having life. ... '[T]hese sun glints are important because, if we saw an extrasolar planet which had glints that popped up periodically, we would know that we were seeing lakes, oceans or other large bodies of liquid, such as water,' says Drake Deming, of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. Deming is the deputy principal investigator who leads the team that works on the Extrasolar Planet Observations and Characterization (EPOCh) part of Deep Impact's extended mission, called EPOXI. 'And if we found large bodies of water on a distant planet, we would become much more optimistic about finding life.' ... The University of Maryland is the Principal Investigator institution, leading the overall EPOXI mission. NASA Goddard leads the extrasolar planet observations. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., manages EPOXI for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The spacecraft was built for NASA by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colo."
Associated Press: "An aging tunnel and bridge span that is an indispensable link for Hampton Roads drivers needs closer monitoring and care, a state report says. An independent review panel's report to the Commonwealth Transportation Board arose from the rupture of a pipe on July 2 that flooded the heavily used Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel with about 1 million gallons of water. Two lanes of the tunnel were closed for about eight hours. Besides stepped up monitoring and inspections of critical systems, the Virginia Department of Transportation expects to spend about $70 million on work on the region's traffic tunnels by 2012. Officials said seven employees were disciplined as a result of the flood that paralyzed a primary traffic artery linking Norfolk, Virginia Beach and other localities south massive body of water at the mouth of Chesapeake Bay with Hampton, Newport News and communities on the Peninsula. The independent review panel headed by Philip J. Tarnoff, an authority in transportation systems from the University of Maryland, recommended stepped up, systematic visual inspections of the tunnel and more training for employees who operate and maintain it. Also among its recommendations is better providing information to travelers who use the tunnel."
Science News: "(Jeff) Pettis is an entomologist though, the research leader at the USDA Agricultural Research Service's Bee Research Laboratory in Beltsville, Md. For at least a year, he has been talking about the interaction hypothesis. He points out that a working honey bee leads a tough life in today's landscape of imported parasites and long-distance road trips to agricultural fields that may have low nutritional value but considerable pesticide residues. He proposes that such stresses weaken the bees and interact with other menaces, such as viruses, which can massacre a colony. Other research, which he didn't review, has identified viruses that lead bees to expire when they have ventured beyond their hives. That quirk might explain the syndrome's illusion of vanishing workers. As examples of worrisome stresses, Pettis described sublethal doses of pesticides, under study in cooperative research with Galen Dively of the University of Maryland in College Park. In this work, bees didn't die from weeks of exposure to a neonicotinoid pesticide. But when the same bees faced a later challenge, the nasty fungal pathogen Nosema ceranae, they developed worrisome infections. Pesticide-exposed bees ended up with three to four times as many Nosema spores in their body as did bees without the pesticide preview. 'It's a very subtle interaction we wouldn't have detected' without the specific test, Pettis said."
Christian Science Monitor: "One upon a time, adaptation to global warming was dubbed a cop-out, a way to duck the challenge of reducing, and ultimately eliminating, greenhouse-gas emissions from cars, factories, and power plants. Now, however, the issue is front and center -- a necessary adjunct to reducing emissions. One significant adaptation challenge involves protecting as much of Earth's biodiversity as possible in what is projected to be a prolonged period of rapid -- if sometimes erratic -- warming. Enter Scott Loarie. a researcher at the Carnegie Institution's department of global ecology in Stanford, Calif. He and five colleagues have unveiled a new approach to assessing how changing climate will affect various habitats. They dub the measure 'climate velocity.' The work Dr. Loarie and his colleagues have done is adding a new tool to conservationists' quiver, says the University of Maryland's David Inouye, who heads the graduate program in sustainable development and conservation biology there. 'It gives an idea of how quickly changes are going to be happening and where they are going to be happening most rapidly,' he says during a phone chat."
Society & Culture
Chronicle of Higher Education: "Alarmism about nuclear proliferation has become common coin in the foreign-policy establishment. Anxieties now are driven in large part by Iran's apparent intention to obtain nuclear weapons. Some politicians hint that military action might be needed to keep Tehran from developing a nuclear bomb. During the 2008 presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton insisted that Iran must be denied the bomb "at all costs" -- without, of course, pausing to tally up what those costs might entail. Barack Obama pointedly pledged that, as president, he would 'do everything in my power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Everything.' Such tough talk is also being heard among experts who follow Iran. ... The leadership of Iran -- hostile and unpleasant in many ways -- does not consist of a self-perpetuating gaggle of suicidal lunatics. Accordingly, if Ayatollah Khamenei is lying or undergoes a conversion (triggered perhaps by an Israeli airstrike), and Iran does develop nuclear weapons, it is exceedingly unlikely that they would ever be given to a group like Hezbollah to detonate -- not least because the nonlunatics in charge would fear that the source of the weapon would be detected, inviting devastating retaliation. Indeed, suggests Thomas C. Schelling, a professor of economics at the University of Maryland, College Park, deterrence is about the only value that nuclear weapons hold for Iran. They 'would be too precious to give away or to sell"' and 'too precious to waste killing people,' he writes when they could make other countries 'hesitant to consider military action.' "
NPR: "From his inaugural address on the steps of the nation's Capitol to his historic June speech at Cairo University, President Obama has repeatedly pledged to repair U.S. relations with the Muslim world, where the U.S. is waging two wars. He gave his first interview as president to Dubai's Arabic-language cable network Al-Arabiya. He promised to close the U.S. military prison in Cuba's Guantanamo Bay and banned harsh prisoner interrogation tactics. But as the first anniversary of Obama's presidency nears, and he grapples with national security issues raised by the al-Qaida-linked Christmas Day attempt to bomb a U.S. airliner, the high expectations of his 'new way forward' have given way to skepticism among many in the Arab world, experts say. 'There's no question that there has been a downturn' in optimism about Obama, the son of a Kenyan-born Muslim, says Middle East scholar Shibley Telhami, a University of Maryland professor and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution's Saban Center for Middle East Policy. 'They're not giving up on this administration,' says Telhami, who has advised Obama. 'But they're frustrated and trying to reconcile their expectations.' "
USA Today: "The Senate is on track for a major makeover as retirements and election defeats change the face of an institution known for seniority. Last week's retirement announcements by senior Democrats Byron Dorgan of North Dakota and Chris Dodd of Connecticut guarantee that at least 23 of the 100 senators in office at the beginning of 2007 will be gone when the new Congress convenes next year -- along with 400 years of seniority, according to a USA TODAY analysis. ... Newer senators are moving into leadership. The top Democrat on the homeland security subcommittee that oversees government contracts is Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, elected in 2006. The top Republican on the Armed Services subcommittee that monitors emerging threats to the nation is the Senate's youngest member, 40-year-old George Lemieux, R-Fla. Appointed in September after Sen. Mel Martinez resigned, he's not seeking re-election this year. One downside in the view of Frances Lee, a University of Maryland political scientist: The newer senators aren't steeped in the traditions of bipartisanship and collegiality that characterized an earlier era. 'Today's ways of doing business in the chamber will come to be seen as "the norm" for new members,' Lee says. 'They won't remember when it would have been unthinkable for major legislation to be hammered out in leadership offices, rather than through conference committee. Nor will they remember a time when 60 votes was not necessary in order to legislate on any controversial matter.' "
Chronicle of Higher Education: "This is not the traditional Chinese classroom: the laughs, the spontaneity, the professor shrinking into the background. ... For decades, Chinese universities were mammoth, impersonal institutions in which professors lectured and students dutifully took notes. But United International -- China's first independent liberal-arts college -- is just one of many recent efforts by universities across China to remake undergraduate education into a more dynamic, interdisciplinary experience. ... Advisers from the United States and Hong Kong are helping in the transition, sending faculty, sharing curricula, and in a few cases backing new programs and colleges. But the big question for China is whether liberal education can flourish in an illiberal society. The changes are 'sincere and well intentioned' and 'a move in the right direction,' says Robert Daly, director of the Institute for Global Chinese Affairs at the University of Maryland at College Park. But, he adds, 'There is a social precondition for fostering creativity, and that precondition is freedom.' "
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