UMD Announces 631 KW Solar Project with Standard Solar and Washington Gas Energy Services
Press release: "More than 2,600 solar panels will be installed on a University of Maryland, College Park (UMD) building this summer, resulting in one of the largest rooftop solar power systems in Maryland. UMD was selected as a Maryland Energy Administration Project Sunburst Initiative Partner and awarded a grant aimed at promoting the installation of renewable energy systems on public buildings in Maryland. As a result of a competitive bid process, Washington Gas Energy Services, Inc. (WGES) will finance the remainder of the project cost and UMD will purchase the electricity generated by the solar panels under a 20-year agreement with WGES. By the second quarter of 2011, the solar power system will be installed and operating on the roof of UMD's Severn building, a multi-purpose facility located less than a mile from the College Park campus. The 631 kilowatt system, which will be installed by Standard Solar Inc. of Rockville, Md. and owned and operated by WGES, will produce about 792 megawatt hours of electricity each year. 'The University is committed to addressing the significant challenges of this generation, including environmental sustainability, climate change, and renewable energy,' said Ann Wylie, Vice President of Administrative Affairs and Chair of the University Sustainability Council. 'The use of solar energy -- a clean energy source that produces no greenhouse gases -- will move us another step closer to achieving our vision for a greener campus embodied in the university's Strategic Plan.' "
MacArthur Awards $5.6 Million for Housing Research
Housing Finance: "In an effort to gain deeper understanding about the role housing plays in the well-being of children and communities, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has awarded $5.6 million in grants for nine different studies. 'MacArthur's support for these research efforts will arm policymakers, housing and social service providers with evidence about the long-term implications of housing programs and policies,' said Michael Stegman, director of policy and housing, in a statement. Selected from a pool of 150 applicants, the nine selected projects will receive funding under the Foundation's $25 million initiative on 'How Housing Matters to Families and Communities.' The initiative is based on the premise that stable, affordable housing is an essential platform that promotes positive outcomes in education, employment, and physical health by helping to ensure a greater return from other social and public investments. This is the second round of grants made through the Foundation's competitive housing research initiative. The nine grant recipients will conduct various studies on the relationship between housing and a series of social and economic concerns, including education, health, and economic opportunity.
* Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City-$1 million to study the role subsidized housing plays in the education, financial, and physical health of children and families;
* Boston College-$900,000 to study the impact of low-income families' housing decisions on children's well-being;
* New York University-$800,000 to study the impact of housing instability due to foreclosure on school performance;
* The University of Maryland-$700,000 to model the impact of housing subsidies on children's future participation in the labor force;
* RAND Corp.-$600,000 to study whether social networks are a key pathway through which low-income residents realize the social and economic benefits of living in mixed-income housing or neighborhoods;
* University of Wisconsin-Madison-$600,000 to study the effects of federal and state income support policies on homeownership stability and child maltreatment;
* Brown University-$500,000 to support a study on the relationship between compulsory savings and homeownership in Mexico and on the effects of homeownership on formal labor market participation;
* Harvard University-$300,000 to study the long-term social, psychological, and economic implications of eviction; and
* University of Chicago-$200,000 for a study on the impact of childhood housing instability on long-term health and education outcomes."
The Princeton Review 100 Best College Values for 2011 USA Today
From USA Today interactive list, Maryland's profile as one of the 50 best values. UMD did not make the list last year.
"The University of Maryland, College Park is a big school. But thanks to the university's system of living and learning communities, which allows students with similar academic interests to live in the same residential community, take specialized courses, and perform research, this campus of almost 27,000 can feel a lot smaller and more intimate than it actually is. UMD offers an Honors Program for academically-talented students that offers special access and opportunities with a community of intellectually-gifted peers. Over 100 undergraduate degrees are on offer here, and the university's location near Washington, D.C. means that top-notch research and internship opportunities are literally in your backyard. The university recently received funding from the Department of Homeland Security to create a new research center to study the behavioral and social foundations of terrorism. It's no surprise then that UMD's political science program is strong. A well-respected business program, top-ranked criminology program, and solid engineering school are also available. Hometown College Park offers a great setting for college students, and a slew of fun activities are routinely available both on and off campus. UMD's Frat Row is a favorite."
Bang for Your Buck: "University of Maryland, College Park offers a comprehensive aid program for students who demonstrate financial need. But it's the university's full suite of merit-based scholarships that make a UMD degree an exceptional value. Highlights include the Banneker/Key Scholarship, the university's most prestigious merit scholarship, which may cover up to the full the cost of tuition, mandatory fees, room and board, and a book allowance each year for four years. The President's Scholarship provides four-year awards of up to $12,000 per year for four years to exceptional entering freshmen. National Merit, creative and performing arts, and departmental scholarships are also available. To be considered for most merit scholarships, entering freshmen applying for the fall semester must submit their complete application for undergraduate admission by the priority deadline of November 1. The eligibility requirements for each scholarship vary. Award notifications begin in early March."
The Bottom Line: "University of Maryland-College Park offers a comprehensive aid program for students who demonstrate financial need. But it's the university's full suite of merit-based scholarships that make a UMD degree an exceptional value. Highlights include the Banneker/Key Scholarship, the university's most prestigious merit scholarship, which may cover up to the full the cost of tuition, mandatory fees, room and board, and a book allowance each year for four years. The President's Scholarship provides four-year awards of up to $12,000 per year for four years to exceptional entering freshmen. National Merit, creative and performing arts, and departmental scholarships are also available. To be considered for most merit scholarships, entering freshmen applying for the fall semester must submit their complete application for undergraduate admission by the priority deadline of November 1. The eligibility requirements for each scholarship vary. Award notifications begin in early March."
University of Maryland, NRC and Nuclear Industry Leaders Team Up for Plant Cybersecurity Workshop
Nuclear Street: "Nuclear security and IT managers take note: The University of Maryland has announced experts from academia, industry and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission will lead a workshop on nuclear plant cybersecurity this spring. The workshop May 4th and 5th in College Park, Md., will focus on initiatives to protect commercial nuclear power plants from cyber-based threats. It will address regulatory and programmatic cybersecurity models developed by NRC and the private sector to protect industrial controls, process automation and other critical systems from cyber attack. In addition to current threat briefings and inspection protocols, the workshop also will cover risk management, security planning, cross-sector cyber protection and security program effectiveness metrics. 'Taking on big issues through collaborative efforts between industry, government agencies and the university is just what we expected the new Maryland Cybersecurity Center (MC2) would accomplish,' UMD's electrical and computer engineering department chair and MC2 co-director Patrick O'Shea said in a release. 'When representatives from the NRC came to us for help in framing the discussion and providing an open forum for problem-solving, we knew MC2 could play an important role. We are inviting technical experts as well as policy makers for the federal government and the state of Maryland to engage on this critical issue,' he said."
UMD Showcases Why Academia Is Dance's Most Fertile Ground
Washington City Paper: "If you're a serious artist, one of the best jobs you can find is working as a professor at a university. Think about it: you get to spend all of your time in an institution where ideas, rather than profits or power, are front and center. Sure, there's pressure to produce, but you're allowed to take some risks, can pick from a sea of talented students and like-minded professionals to work with, and have incredible facilities at your fingertips. Oh, and your day job is based on helping to influence the next generation. No wonder those positions are coveted. Listen to University of Maryland dance professor Sharon Mansur talk about the two pieces she'll be premiering tonight and tomorrow night in a shared concert with professors Sara Pearson and Patrik Widrig, and the point is driven home. Much of the country might be in a conservative mode regarding arts funding, but the freedom to experiment still seems to exist in academia. One of the pieces Mansur will be showing, 'cimmerian light,' is a 12-minute improvisation that includes collaborators from several other UMD departments. In particular, she and Andrew Dorman, a lighting designer and MFA student in the university's theater department, have worked together since last year. 'I wanted to develop a piece with a lighting designer as a close creative process,' explained Mansur, adding that Dorman was part of the piece since it first began. Also involved in the process were Felicia Glidden, a sculptor and MFA student who designed the sets, and Bruce Carter, a faculty member in the music department who created the sound score; he and Mansur discovered a shared interest in improvisation several years ago and spent months together then experimenting in a studio."
Freedom of Expression, or Lack Thereof, Tonight and Tomorrow at Clarice Smith
Washington City Paper: "With the Middle East roiling with citizens who've had enough of their repressive rulers, the concepts of free speech-or lack thereof-and what it means to be a prisoner of your own county have moved, once again, to front and center. That makes Nora Chipaumire's timing uncanny. The Zimbabwean-born choreographer who lives in self-imposed exile in the U.S. is showing her work tonight and tomorrow night at the University of Maryland's Clarice Smith Center. Though she's worked all over this country and is a member of the internationally known dance company Urban Bush Women, Chipaumire still grapples with the difficult issues of living outside her native country, which is currently one of the most repressive in the world. Her piece, 'lions will roar, swans will fly, angels will wrestle heaven, rains will break: gukurahundi,' focuses directly on freedom of expression in Zimbabwe; it's a dance, she says, 'about loss, grief, displacement, trauma.' Live accompaniment to Chipaumire's piece will be provided by Thomas Mapfumo and the Blacks Unlimited. A towering figure in the Afro-pop world and creator and popularizer of chimurenga music, Mapfumo also lives in exile in the U.S. His music is banned in Zimbabwe. Ideally, this performance will do what art is ultimately meant for: to transmit, from one individual directly to another, a wordless expression of a unique experience. In this case, it's the experience of coming from a land where not even freedom of thought is a given."
Clarice Smith: UMD Faculty Attempt to Bring High-Concept Dance Down to Earth
Washington Post: "Three University of Maryland dance department faculty members presented new works Thursday at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center that ranged from satisfying to silly. The stated intent of all three choreographies was to produce kinetic landscapes where motion, light, spoken word and visual media had equal voice. Sharon Mansur and duo Sara Pearson and Patrik Widrig must be exciting and fun to work with because these choreographers burble with ideas and warmly embrace the notion of collaborating with their dancers. There is a lot of intellectual meat on the bones of all three. Mansur's works dealt with the nature of feminine identity, of light and dark, and the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi that finds beauty in things that are imperfect, impermanent and incomplete. Pearson and Widrig set their sights on the drama inherent in movement and sought to convey a sense of time and space. These choreographers willingly burden themselves with a difficult task; weighty ideas can sometimes make it more challenging to cross the chasm that lies between an idea and its actualization. Pearson and Widrig's 'Drama' for trio and chorus had the easiest crossing, as its focus on pure movement helped it unfold effortlessly. Inspired by dancer Tzveta Kassabova's improvisations, the movement took on Kassabova's incredibly gawky but often original style. At one point, the dancers collapsed like folding chairs as, seated, they suddenly released their torsos forward. 'Drama's' best moment came when three suspended boxes suddenly released a rain of gravel that crashed to the floor with terrifying bang."
Actually Going to Class, for a Specific Course? How 20th-Century.
New learning technologies prompt a rethinking of traditional course structure
Chronicle of Higher Education: "The first question many undergraduates ask professors on the first day of class is whether they really have to show up. The way they phrase it is a bit more subtle, says Dekunle Somade, a senior at the University of Maryland at College Park. What his fellow students actually ask is: 'Will reruns of lectures be available after class, or at least the full set of PowerPoint slides?' Mr. Somade told me recently that 'the general idea is that if I don't have to come to class, I don't want to come to class-and technology is giving students more and more reason not to come.' That leads to a big question: Why even have a traditional college course? Learning outside of this structure engages students more deeply, recent data indicate. Professors talking for 16 weeks or so, assigning readings, and then testing students often appears to yield a bunch of quickly memorized facts that are soon forgotten. In an era when students can easily grab material online, including lectures by gifted speakers in every field, a learning environment that avoids courses completely-or seriously reshapes them-might produce a very effective new form of college. That was the provocative notion posed here recently by Randy Bass, executive director of Georgetown University's Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship, during the annual meeting of the Educause Learning Initiative. ... Mr. Somade, of Maryland, says 'there's not really much need for teachers anymore,' since so much is online. He made that argument in a recent editorial in the university's student newspaper, The Diamondback: 'We no longer need to have personal contact with teachers to absorb much of the material, and you can rest assured universities have taken notice,' he wrote. 'There is definitely a broader array of options available to students who wish to forgo the commute to class altogether in exchange for online classes that essentially provide the same content that professors regurgitate to students in lecture.' "
Rosenthal: Let's Close the Gap Between Teaching and Assessing
Laura Rosenthal, professor of English and Donna Heiland, vice president of the Teagle Foundation, write an op/ed. Their book, Literary Study, Measurement, and the Sublime: Disciplinary Assessment, is being published this month by the Teagle Foundation.
Chronicle of Higher Education: "Too many students are learning too little in college. Recent research in higher education has brought that lesson home, even as it has also brought home that some students do really well, and that there are clear factors that contribute to student success or lack of it. Good assessment can give us concrete information about whether students are learning, how much they are learning, and in what areas. And there are institutions, faculty members, and administrators that not only know this body of work but make good use of it as they seek to strengthen their institutions and serve their students better. All too often, though, there is a considerable gap between institutional assessment and teaching. Some faculty members embrace assessment efforts, some are highly critical of them, but most, perhaps, are barely aware of them. Why is this so, and should we do something about it? Working with reference to major points made in the essay collection we've just co-edited, Literary Study, Measurement, and the Sublime: Disciplinary Assessment, we would like to propose the mutual benefits of closing that gap."
Energy Research Center: A Fresh Take on Local Business
Washington Post: "This week, the ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit here in Washington celebrates breakthroughs that strengthen our country's security and competitiveness in the global market. Local innovators such as Lockheed Martin and the University of Maryland Energy Research Center are among the companies, universities and government agencies showcasing the transformational technologies that can drive the energy economy. But those breakthroughs are at risk. The United States leads the world in information technology and biotechnology innovation, but we risk falling behind in alternative energy. For example, Japan and South Korea outspend the U.S. government on energy innovation two to one as a percentage of GDP. China is spending just one-sixth as much as the United States on military security but investing twice as much on climate security. As Congress continues a spirited debate on the federal budget for this year and next, funding for energy research programs such as ARPA-E are at risk, putting in jeopardy cutting-edge work being done around the D.C. region and across the country."
Imagine: College Park/University of Maryland Arboretum
Rethink College Park: "College Park has the fortune of having a unique system of trails and open spaces running through and around the city. However, there are some instances where this system of open spaces serves to divide the community rather than bring it together. One such instance is the large, wooded open space directly north of Paint Branch Parkway and east of Baltimore Avenue. This land sits at the geographic heart of College Park and has the opportunity to serve as a gathering place for local residents and the University community. Unfortunately, this land is vastly underutilized due to difficult and unattractive pedestrian and bicycle access and a lack of visibility. During my frequent runs and bicycle rides around Lake Artemesia, I am amazed by the lack of University students taking advantage of this amenity. I have come to the conclusion that the few number of students who utilize Lake Artemesia's pathway and surrounding trail system is driven both by a lack of perceived safety and simply being unaware that such an amenity exists. With so much beautiful open space directly adjacent to the University and many of College Park's neighborhoods, it is unfortunate how cut off this land is from campus and surrounding neighborhoods, especially Old Town. Unfortunately, physical barriers, such as dangerous Route 1 and a sound wall along Paint Branch Road, along with psychological barriers, such as a perceived lack of safety, are currently discouraging more recreational use of this area. Additionally, though the university sits less than a mile away from Lake Artemesia, the distance seems much further due to the convoluted path system and a lack of sight lines between the two destinations. A little planning and creativity could go a long way in creating a world-class arboretum right here in College Park."
Shinagawa: Rockville Home to Washington Area's Fastest-Growing Asian Community
Washington Examiner: "Rockville is home to the fastest-growing Asian population in the Washington area, recent census data show, a result experts largely attribute to the area's top-flight school system and booming tech and bioscience industry. Roughly one-fifth of the city's more than 61,000 residents are Asian, a growth of 79 percent over the last decade. The increase far outpaces neighboring areas Aspen Hill, North Bethesda, Gaithersburg and North Potomac. And other than North Potomac, where one-third of the roughly 24,000 residents are Asian, Rockville has the highest concentration of Asians. 'Most people who are working are affiliated with government agencies or tech and health industries,' said Larry Shinagawa, an Asian American studies professor at the University of Maryland. 'So you have a lot of job opportunities and also Rockville is very pro-business-oriented.' ... [I]n addition to the area's industries, small-business opportunities along Rockville Pike combined with good public and private schools created the 'perfect confluence' for a bustling Asian community that started building in the late 1980s. 'It has an identifiable nexus -- the road, [Route] 355 ,is really clear as a [commercial] corridor,' Shinagawa said. 'Also Rockville has a town center, and other cities don't have that kind of center or a road you could quickly latch on to as a nexus. That's why, in my opinion, Rockville grew so fast.' "
Counting by Race Can Throw Off Some Numbers
The New York Times continues its series on multicultural students
"The federal Department of Education would categorize Michelle Lopez-Mullins -- a university student who is of Peruvian, Chinese, Irish, Shawnee and Cherokee descent -- as 'Hispanic.' But the National Center for Health Statistics, the government agency that tracks data on births and deaths, would pronounce her 'Asian.' And what does Ms. Lopez-Mullins's birth certificate from the State of Maryland say? It doesn't mention her race. Ms. Lopez-Mullins, 20, usually marks "other" on surveys these days, but when she filled out a census form last year, she chose Asian, Hispanic, Native American and white. The chameleon-like quality of Ms. Lopez-Mullins's racial and ethnic identification might seem trivial except that statistics on ethnicity and race are used for many important purposes. These include assessing disparities in health, education, employment and housing, enforcing civil rights protections, and deciding who might qualify for special consideration as members of underrepresented minority groups. But when it comes to keeping racial statistics, the nation is in transition, moving, often without uniformity, from the old "mark one box" limit to allowing citizens to check as many boxes as their backgrounds demand. Changes in how Americans are counted by race and ethnicity are meant to improve the precision with which the nation's growing diversity is gauged: the number of mixed-race Americans, for example, is rising rapidly, largely because of increases in immigration and intermarriage in the past two decades. (One in seven new marriages is now interracial or interethnic.) ... Many mixed-race Americans are wary of statistics on race. In a typical year, Ms. Lopez-Mullins, the Peruvian-Chinese-Irish-Shawnee-Cherokee president of a multiracial student group at the University of Maryland, says she is asked to fill out forms for school, for extracurricular activities and standardized tests, for example, that follow no set standards in asking the questions or gathering the answers. 'It's always, "How can these multiracial individuals best benefit us? What category can we put them in to fulfill something?" ' she said. 'I figure there's such a large margin of error with that kind of ridiculous accounting anyway, I'm totally against it." ' For years, when asked her race, she checked everything that applied: Hispanic, Asian, white and Native American. And if she is now confronted with a blank space for her race, she might challenge the form with a question of her own: 'What does this tell you?' "
Click here for original release.
UM Student: Libyans in US Fear for Family and Friends Back Home
Voice of America: "As protest and government crackdowns in Libya continue, Libyans in the United States are fearing for the lives of their families and friends in their homeland. Najla is a graduate student in Boston, Massachusetts. She does not give her last name for fear of her family being targeted by the government of Libya's longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi. She says she calls her family as much as possible to make sure they are safe from the bloody anti-government demonstrations that are gripping the country. 'They are saying that the situation is so worse,' said Najla. 'They are really afraid. I wont say afraid; they are really scared and panicked right now.' Najla recounts what her family as told her about the situation in Libya. 'I don't even have words to describe what they are facing there each day -- gun shots, heavy weapons,' she said. 'But they are totally, totally unarmed innocent people. I have to say it's a genocide; it's a massacre what's going on there. I have no other words to explain.' Saddik, who studies engineering at the University of Maryland, does not give his full name for the same reason as Najla. Still he says the situation in Libya is so bad that he is willing to speak out, despite the risk. 'I am sure now they are listening to me and they will interpret my voice and go to my family in Tripoli,"' said Saddik. 'I am sure they will do that. I am asking my God to protect them.' These concerns were reaffirmed on Tuesday when Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi addressed his nation. Pounding his fist on the podium, MR. Gadhafi threatened the death penalty for anyone who takes up arms against Libya or takes part in espionage."
College Park Finalizes Guidelines for UM Liaison Attendance
Student representative could be removed for missing too many council meetings
Gazette Newspapers: "Missing too many College Park City Council meetings will have significant consequences for the University of Maryland, College Park's council liaison. The City Council met Feb. 15 with Steve Glickman, the UM Student Government Association president, to update and clarify the process of selecting and removing the student liaison after the issue was raised last year. Last March, the SGA unsuccessfully tried to impeach Jonathan Sachs, who was the university's SGA president and student liaison, for missing too many council meetings and not making mandatory reports to the SGA legislature twice a month, Glickman said. Sachs declined to comment when reached by phone Feb. 15. The position, created in 2002, affords student liaisons one-year terms from June 1 to May 31 of the following year. 'It's a huge position. It's one of the few government positions we have with any other institution,' said Glickman, a UM senior. 'It [has been] a big success on both our parts. We are really able to understand not only what the council is thinking but also planning in the future.' Councilman Patrick Wojahn (Dist. 1) said the position gives students a voice on the council and the ability to give input on issues related to the student-city relationship, including code enforcement and development issues. '[The position is] an opportunity for the students to add their input whenever there are issues related to student-city relations,' Wojahn said. 'It's important for the students to have a voice. The students are a big part of our community.' The student liaison is appointed by the SGA with a two-thirds vote."
RecycleMania Competition Kicks Off at Two Local Universities
The Sentinel: "Both Bowie State University and the University of Maryland kicked off their participation Feb. 6 in a nationwide 'RecycleMania' competition. The official RecycleMania website states, 'RecycleMania is a friendly competition and benchmarking tool for college and university recycling programs to promote waste reduction activities to their campus communities.' Anyone on campus who recycles anything during the eight week competition period is considered a participant, and Bill Guididas, UMD's coordinator for recycling and solid waste, said, 'Students can help by recycling as much as possible.' ... Both campuses are hosting special events for the competition including a kick-off event, and there will be an Earth Day awards celebration at Bowie State. Maryland will hold a campuswide paper drive asking people to bring all of their old paper to be recycled as well as multiple shredding events throughout the competition, Guididas said. There are five official categories for competition including a waste minimization category determining which school produces the least amount of municipal solid waste and a gorilla prize category which rewards the school that, according to the RecycleMania website, recycles 'the highest gross tonnage of combined paper, cardboard and bottle and cans.' Last year Maryland won the gorilla prize and this year hopes to improve overall in the competition, Guididas said."
Picking Up America, One Piece of Trash At a Time
Two UMd. students started a national non-profit to help America clean up its act.
College Park Patch: "When then-University of Maryland student Jeff Chen told his friend Davey Rogner that he wanted to walk across America and pick up trash, Rogner responded the way any good friend would: 'You're crazy, man,' he said. Eventually though, the offer became too good to refuse. Two months later, Rogner -- also a UMd. student -- was on board, and Pick Up America was born. The idea behind the organization is a simple one: walk (and occasionally drive) across the country, pick up trash and spread the message of zero waste, a concept started on the West Coast that has been slowly making its way eastward, said Greg Katski, the group's public relations manager. 'You're not just recycling, but you're composting, you're not using any plastic -- no plastic bags or anything,' Katski said. 'That's basically our mission statement.' The idea first came to Chen a couple of years ago while working at Yosemite National Park. During a hike to the famed Half Dome, Chen couldn't help but notice the amount of trash that littered the trail. Upon reaching the top, Chen was moved by both the astounding beauty of the surrounding scenery, and the trash that sullied it. On his way back down Chen picked up every piece of trash he encountered. By the time he was done, he was inspired: why not do the same thing, everywhere? Chen and Rogner both graduated from UMd. in 2009, and, after a bit of planning, a lot of fundraising and the addition of a few more staff, hit the road."
Out of Egypt Israel a Beacon for Local Jews Caught in Turmoil
Washington Jewish Week: "As her plane descended into Tel Aviv, Emily Grunewald sighed with relief and thought back to 1948, when desperate Jewish refugees sought sanctuary in the newly established Jewish homeland. Grunewald, 23, who landed at Ben-Gurion Airport on Monday of last week, says she saw herself in a similar light after being forced to flee the chaos and hostility of Cairo in the throes of upheaval. 'I'll never forget the feeling of landing in a safe haven," said Grunewald, who had touched down in Israel many times, but had never before thought of the country as a refuge from harm. "Landing in Israel was one of the happiest moments of my life.' Grunewald, who grew up in Potomac, had been living sporadically in Cairo for about two years, working for Ashoka, an Arlington-based nonprofit that promotes social innovation. When civil unrest broke out last month, Americans and other foreigners knew it was imperative to flee the teetering country. For Jews like Grunewald and Monica Kamen, a 23-year-old senior at the University of Maryland who'd been studying in that school's overseas program in Alexandria, Israel became a beacon of safety and stability. But with many of Egypt's main thoroughfares and neighborhoods blanketed by looters, bandits and pro-government thugs, just getting to the airport was an ordeal. Grunewald, who is residing with family members outside Tel Aviv, said that while Egyptians have long been on the verge of revolt, 'no one expected this.' "
Business Rx: Bike-Sharing Without a Home Base
Washington Post:The entrepreneurs "When Allie Armitage, Vlad Tchompalov, Brad Eisenberg and Yasha Portnoy partnered together for a class project three years ago at the University of Maryland, they never thought their idea would turn into their own business. As part of the Quality Enhancement Systems & Teams honors program, the group came up with weBike, a bike-sharing program for small communities, to enhance transportation on and around university campuses." The pitch Armitage "WeBike is a bike-sharing program that is stationless and uses an SMS Text Messaging platform to enable registered riders to check bikes in and out. It is the first stationless bike sharing system to be implemented in the country, and is easy to install, cost-effective to maintain and a fraction of the up-front investment required by station-based models. Our target market is small communities and colleges, who tend to lack a deep budget for bike transportation, making weBike the perfect solution for flexible, budget-friendly bike sharing. To use the system, riders monitor bike locations online or via text to find the nearest one to them. Bikes can be at a centralized checkpoint, such as an apartment building, or at dispersed locations, like across a campus or throughout a city. Riders check out a bike using their phone, ride the bike wherever they need to go, then drop it off at their final location, sending a text to weBike to check it in. WeBike launched a 15-bike pilot system at the University of Maryland last fall, and currently the team is operating its first revenue-generating system for the Mazza GrandMarc apartment complex in College Park. Since the September launch at Mazza, weBike has registered 85 users, logged more than 350 rides, and exchanged 2,500 text messages with their user base. We are working out kinks with our locks, because combinations aren't always changed and some people have been able to use bikes without our knowledge."
Driskell: Yale Gallery Opens Student-Curated Show "Embodied" From the Yale Art Gallery: "A collaboration among a team of students from Yale and the University of Maryland, College Park, 'Embodied: Black Identities in American Art' from the Yale University Art Gallery features works that address, question, and complicate the paradigms that have mapped meanings onto African American bodies throughout history. The 54 works selected for the exhibition, representing the Gallery's commitment during the past decade to growing this area of the collection, include paintings, sculpture, decorative arts, prints, drawings, and photographs. The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue." The Yale Daily News: "Student-organized art exhibitions are not the norm at the Yale University Art Gallery, but a rare one did open there this past Friday. The gallery is currently hosting a new exhibition titled 'Embodied: Black identities in American Art,' the result of a collaborative curatorial effort with the David C. Driskell Center at the University of Maryland, College Park. The show is part of an ongoing series of student-curated exhibitions -- a five-year-old effort that is part of the gallery's educational program. A team of six students -- three from each university -- worked to develop the show, which first opened in September at Driskell. Pamela Franks, the deputy director for collections and education at the gallery, said the themes for such student-curated exhibitions are selected after the permanent curators determine which areas of the gallery's collections are 'particularly rich and asking to be shown.' The current exhibition is centered around the representation of African-American culture in art and includes a variety of media such as painting, photography and sculpture."
Terps Make "Final Four" -- in National Design Competition
UM release: A team of University of Maryland graduate students has clinched one of four finalist slots in the 2011 Urban Land Institute/Gerald D. Hines Student Urban Design Competition, beating out more than 160 teams from some of the finest and most prestigious graduate-level programs in the United States and Canada. UMD's design team will compete for the top prize in the ULI/Gerald D. Hines Student Urban Design Competition. A collaboration of top talent within the University, the team consists of: Fran Dohrety (Master of Community Planning), Heather Howard (Master of Real Estate Development), Matthew Sickle (Master of Landscape Architecture), Sean Douty (Master of Architecture), and Emilie Rottman (Master of Architecture). The team's primary advisor on the project is Architecture Professor Matthew Bell, with Margaret McFarland, director of the Real Estate Development program, serving as an additional advisor."
NFAIS Names Ben Shneiderman as the 2011 Miles Conrad Awardee
Press release: "The National Federation of Advanced Information Services ... has announced that Dr. Ben Shneiderman, Professor, Founding Director of the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory, and member of the Institute for Advanced Computer Studies, University of Maryland, College Park will be presented with the prestigious Miles Conrad Award on February 28, 2011 at the NFAIS 53rd Annual Conference in Philadelphia, PA. The objective of the Miles Conrad Memorial Lecture, established in 1965 in commemoration of NFAIS founder, G. Miles Conrad, is to recognize and honor those members of the Information Community who have made significant contributions to the field of information science and to NFAIS itself. 'Ben Shneiderman is an information industry icon -- known around the world for his cutting edge work,' said NFAIS President, Judith Russell. 'His accomplishments are diverse and significant. He pioneered the highlighted textual link in 1983 and it became part of Hyperties, a precursor to the web. He has been a major influence in the design of user-computer interfaces as a result of his in-depth research into human-computer interactions. His work on information visualization that began in the early 1990's spawned Spotfire, known for pharmaceutical drug discovery and genomic data analysis and originated the treemap concept for hierarchical data. And his current projects focus on network visualization, with the development of tools such as Network Visualization by Semantic Substrates, SocialAction, and NodeXL that are being applied to citation analysis and to social network analysis. Dr. Shneiderman has spoken at past NFAIS meetings and has provided input into the development of conferences. The NFAIS Board is very pleased to bestow our organization's highest honor upon him."
Murtugudde: 20 Researchers Selected as 2011 Leopold Leadership Fellows
Stanford University: "Twenty environmental researchers from across North America have been awarded Leopold Leadership Fellowships for 2011. Based at Stanford University's Woods Institute for the Environment, the Leopold Leadership Program was founded in 1998 to help academic scientists make their knowledge accessible to decision makers. Each year the program selects up to 20 mid-career academic environmental researchers as fellows. They receive intensive leadership and communications training to help them engage effectively with policymakers, journalists, business leaders, and communities confronting complex decisions about sustainability and the environment. 'These twenty outstanding researchers are change agents engaged in cutting-edge research,' said Pam Sturner, the executive director of the Leopold Leadership Program. 'Through our program, they will gain new skills and connections to help them translate their knowledge into action at the regional, national, and international level.' The 2011 fellows come from a wide range of disciplines, including marine science, ecology, engineering, geography, economics, behavioral science, and political science. They will join a network of 153 past fellows who are actively working to infuse the best research into public and private sector discussions about the environment."
"Raghu Murtugudde, Professor, Executive Director of the Chesapeake Bay Forecast System. Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science, University of Maryland. Current research: Earth system forecasts for sustainability and climate decision-support."
Tenable Tapped by UM to Spur Cybersecurity Program
Growing Columbia firm lends hand with insight, training
Business Gazette: "A growing Columbia network security company is partnering with the University of Maryland, College Park to help foster Maryland's burgeoning cybersecurity work force, among other goals. Tenable Network Security executives hope to recruit workers from among the university's graduates while providing the school with the kind of business insight about the industry that can be used to enhance course instruction. 'Cybersecurity crime is a big issue. We're 100 percent focused on identifying these incidents and monitoring them. We want to be with the university in this,' said Jack Huffard, president and one of the founders of privately held Tenable. ... University researchers also might be able to take such products and discover new applications for them, Huffard said. 'Cybersecurity is very rapidly evolving and ill-defined from an educational standpoint,' said Patrick O'Shea, co-director of the cybersecurity center and chairman of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the university's A. James Clark School of Engineering. He said university officials want to bring in smaller business such as Tenable, as well as larger ones, because small companies tend to be 'really innovative and agile' in their thinking. O'Shea said that insight is particularly useful when trying to create educational and research programs."
Colwell: 'Fog Of Research' Clouds Study Of Oil's Effects In Gulf
NPR Morning Edition: "The BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was, in effect, a huge experiment and scientists want to know what that oil may do to the plants and animals that live in the Gulf - from sea grasses to turtles to giant bluefin tuna. But many of those scientists say they're frustrated at the lack of focus in this research effort as well as the shortage of money for such a huge undertaking. ... There is, however, some money for independent, open research, like the $20 million from the National Science Foundation. But that money runs out soon, and D'Elia points out that now is a bad time for research money to dry up. 'We're going to have an interesting time in the springtime,' he says, 'because we are about to come into the season when life starts teeming in the coastal waters, so one of the big issues that I'm concerned about is what is going to happen to the food chains -- the food webs off the coast of Louisiana in particular -- where the oiling was the heaviest.' Ironically, it's BP that's spent the most for independent, open research. Shortly after the spill, BP gave several universities and research groups in the Gulf about $50 million, with the promise of another $450 million over 10 years. BP and the Gulf states picked a board of scientists to decide who gets it. Rita Colwell, a life scientist at the University of Maryland, is head of the board. 'We are gathering the data to be published in the open literature and anybody can use it, private individuals, BP, federal government -- anyone,"\' Colwell says. But the other $450 million that BP promised hasn't materialized. Colwell says recruiting the research board and writing ethical rules for research took a long time, and the board still has not published guidelines for how to apply for money. So it could be months before scientists see any of that $450 million."
Leone: Slaves Hid Charms in Colonial Greenhouse
A Maryland plantation greenhouse where Frederick Douglass spent part of his childhood was not as uniquely European as once thought.
Discovery News: "In his eloquent autobiographies, abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass described the cruelty he experienced as an African-American slave in Maryland during the early 19th century. But Douglass' descriptions may have been missing some important details about the richness of slave culture at the time. In a greenhouse on a centuries-old estate where Douglass lived as a young boy, archaeologists have dug up a variety of both mundane objects and strategically placed symbols of spirituality. These artifacts show for the first time that slaves lived in the greenhouse and that they sustained African religious traditions, even as they probably outwardly practiced Christianity. By analyzing grains of fossilized pollen from the site, researchers were also able to show that the slaves used a corner of the greenhouse to experiment with plants for food, medicinal and household purposes -- beginning what would become an African-American gardening tradition. Together, the wealth of new discoveries paints the broadest picture yet of the people who slaved away on a well-known plantation for centuries. 'African-American religion in the form of African traditions gave this building a second identity, one that was not described or not known by Douglass,' said Mark Leone, an archaeologist at the University of Maryland, College Park. 'This is African-American culture here, both in terms of religion and agriculture, that has traditions that are still alive today,' he said. "There was a whole set of concepts, ideas and practices that kept the community whole. That isn't something that could be destroyed through brutality.' The greenhouse, known as the Wye Orangery, was built in 1785. Today, it is famous for its architectural beauty, its rarity and its notable history. It is the only 18th-century greenhouse that remains in North America."
Flatau, Anandalingam: Lockheed Martin Invests in Nanotechnology
Investment boosts nanotechnology lab at the University of Maryland. Industry Week: "Lockheed Martin -- a Bethesda-based global security company that is contracted primarily through the U.S. Department of Defense and other federal government agencies -- announced a $200,000 investment last week to the Dingham Center for Entrepreneurship to advance nanotechnology research underway at the university. The funding will be spent on nanowire technology research that is developing sensors for robotic vehicles, said aerospace engineering professor Alison Flatau, one of the project's lead researchers. Business school Dean Anand Anandalingam said Lockheed Martin's most recent show of support will take the university's long-standing partnership with the company to the next level."
Smith School MBAs Secure Lockheed Martin Investment in UMD Technology
Business Journals: "MBA students at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business created a business case that secured a $200,000 investment from Lockheed Martin to develop a nanotechnology created by university faculty. The investment, secured during the initial offering of a new technology-transfer course spearheaded by the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship, is a win for the university as its first payoff for increased focus on technology transfer initiatives to bolster the institution's contributions to the state economy. The Dingman Center has a 25-year history of fueling economic development in Maryland. Helping to commercialize university-developed technology not only benefits the institution and the state economy, it also gives our students great hands-on learning experiences,' said G. "Anand' Anandalingam, Dean of the Robert H. Smith School of Business. 'This program represents the tremendous value our students can realize from experiential learning programs that have become the focus of the Smith MBA curriculum. These programs help our students develop as leaders with real-world problem-solving skills.' "
UM Extension: Md. Natural Gas Value: $5.9 Billion to $49 Billion
AP: "A study of natural reserves in western Maryland puts the prospective lifetime value at $5.9 billion to $49.1 billion. University of Maryland Extension workers who crunched the numbers said Friday that Garrett County has about twice the production potential of neighboring Allegany County. The study was done to educate public officials and private citizens about untapped reserves of natural gas in the Marcellus Shale, a mineral-rich geological formation that extends from New York to Virginia. Two drilling companies are seeking permits to extract the gas through a hotly debated process called hydraulic fracturing. The estimates are based on today's natural gas prices. They don't include gas reserves on state-owned land."
Smith School Nation's Railcar Fleet in Jeopardy, Impacting Environment and Shipments of Goods
Business Journals: "The nation's $90 billion fleet of privately owned freight railway cars may be in jeopardy, according to a new report released today by the Supply Chain Management Center at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business. The fleet is integral to the efficient movement of goods by rail and drastically reduces the environmental impact of shipping by eliminating the equivalent of 30 million truck shipments a year. The report finds private owners of railway freight cars are not making high enough returns to justify their continued investment in the cars. The report, 'Economic and Environmental Benefits of Private Railcars in North America,' was jointly authored by Thomas M. Corsi, Michelle Smith Professor of Logistics at the Smith School, and Ken Casavant, Professor of Economics at Washington State University. Corsi and Casavant find the poor rates of return for private railcar owners are due in part to changes in the railroad industry's interchange rules, which have resulted in a number of new rules to increase safety and efficiency. The report finds that costs of these improvements have been borne primarily by the private car owners, who reap very little benefit in return, compared to the efficiency benefits realized by the railroads. 'From an economic efficiency and welfare point of view, benefit/cost ratios should be calculated for the industry as a whole and costs should be allocated in proportion to the benefits received,' said Corsi. 'For the market to work for car investment there is a need for equitable, non discriminatory, and transparent interchange rules.' "
St. Leger: Scientists Make Transgenic Fungus to Fight Malaria
Reuters UK: "Using genetically modified fungi to infect mosquitoes that harbour malaria parasites could be an effective way to control the spread of malaria, researchers said on Thursday. Scientists from Britain and the United States inserted the genes of human antibodies or scorpion toxins into a fungus called Metarhizium anisopliae that infects mosquitoes. They found that certain combinations of them were able to stop the development of malaria-causing parasites in the mosquitoes. Writing in the journal Science, the researchers said the approach could become an environmentally friendly way of fighting malaria, and might also be used to control other insect- or bug-borne diseases such as dengue fever or Lyme disease. 'Though applied here to combat malaria, our transgenic fungal approach is a very flexible one that allows design and delivery of gene products targeted to almost any disease-carrying arthropod,' said Raymond St. Leger, a professor of entomology at the University of Maryland, who led the study. Infection by malaria-causing parasites results in around 240 million cases of the disease around the world every year and kills more than 850,000 people, many of them children, according to the World Health Organisation. Most malaria cases are in sub-Saharan Africa, but the disease affects people in more than 100 countries worldwide. Treating mosquito nets and houses with insecticides is one of the major prevention strategies, but mosquitoes can develop resistance to insecticides, making them ineffective. 'Mosquitoes have an incredible ability to evolve and adapt, so there may be no permanent fix,' said St. Leger. But he added that the results of this study suggest that spraying malaria-transmitting mosquitoes with the genetically-modified fungus could dramatically reduce transmission of the disease to humans and provide an effective biopesticide for some decades. St. Leger and a team from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in the United States and Britain's University of Westminster created their transgenic fungus by starting with Metarhizium anisopliae and then inserting genes into it for a human antibody or a scorpion toxin. Both the antibody and the toxin specifically target the malaria-causing parasite, P. falciparum, they explained."
Telhami: Bin Laden's Nightmare in Egypt
Shibley Telhami, Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development, write an op/ed: "The Mubarak Regime has collapsed and the voice of the people has been heard. The ramifications for Egypt and for the Middle East will be more powerful than the impact of Arab-Israeli wars. But even with the uncertainty about the future one thing is certain: We are witnessing Osama bin Laden's nightmare. What comes next is, first and foremost, for Egyptians to decide, and whatever happens, it is the Egyptian people who will have to live with the consequences. Understandably, however, Americans are watching events with awe mixed with concern. We are divided between the exhilaration of watching peaceful public empowerment in pursuit of the values Americans hold dear and fear of the consequences for U.S. interests in the Middle East. The future of the U.S.-Egyptian relationship, the Israeli-Egyptian relationship and the power and design of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt have consumed the lion's share of the debate about U.S. interests. But the biggest of all interests has been largely ignored: The power and pride that the peaceful masses exhibit in the streets of Cairo and other Egyptian cities are Bin Laden's worst nightmare. Peaceful masses, not the murder of innocents, overthrew a regime most thought was entrenched. If the demonstrators fail to fulfill their aspirations, it will be America's nightmare. Consider this: For at least two decades, we have known of the widening gap between governments and the public in Egypt and elsewhere in the Arab world. The puzzle was never 'When will people have reason to revolt?' but always 'Why haven't people revolted already?' "
Telhami: Arabs Don't Believe Revolutions Will Spawn New Dictators
Sawya.com, UAE, Dateline Tunis: "In their first free political debate in nearly three decades, Tunisians have rejected the idea that a new set of strongmen might emerge from the uprisings, rocking the Arab world. At a special session of the Doha Debates an audience of mainly students and young professionals voted 74 to 26 percent against the motion: 'This House believes that Arab revolutions will just produce different dictators'. But one student warned, 'What we have inherited from the old regime is like cancer... it needs radical surgery to remove it.' Another won applause when he argued passionately that 'Tunisians had the quickest revolution in the world and we will have the quickest democracy too.' The debate took place in the heart of the old city in Tunis, less than a mile from where thousands of demonstrators overthrew President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali on January 14. Speaking in favor of the motion were Rauoudha Ben Othman, Professor of Linguistics at the University of Tunis, and Kamal Ben Younis, Executive Director of the International Studies Association and Institute Tunisia. ... Speaking against the motion were Shibley Telhami, professor for peace and development at the University of Maryland, and Fares Mabrouk, founder of the Arab Policy Institute, a new think tank supporting democratic change in the Middle East and North Africa. Dr. Telhami, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute, acknowledged there were risks in every transition to democracy. But he said an unprecedented sense of popular empowerment, bolstered by the internet, meant Arab governments could no longer ignore public opinion. 'No one can ever put the genie back in the bottle... dictatorships are over... there is an indigenous momentum that is irreversible.' "
Alford: Should Putin Worry About Spate of Whistleblowing?
Time: "Russia has its fair share of whistleblowers. Over the past few years, at least a dozen of them -- local officials, policemen, entrepreneurs -- have taken it upon themselves to air their boss' dirty laundry. Most often their complaints are addressed to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, the country's strongman, who then has the option of boosting his ratings by setting the matter straight. But in recent weeks, this phenomenon has started turning on its head. A new string of whistleblowers is making Putin out to be the bad guy, and that has left many Russians wondering: What is their motivation? And why now? It's tempting to think that, in Russia's descent into perennial corruption, some moral line has simply -- finally -- been crossed. 'That is the typical whistleblower's story, just someone who gets angry about being part of a corrupt organization. They can't live with themselves anymore until they do something about it,' says Fred Alford, an authority on whistleblowers from the University of Maryland. ... 'Whistleblowers, when they have the courage to come forward, make us all confront what is wrong in our society,' says Alford of the University of Maryland. That courage could come from the protection of Putin's rivals, who would be keen to encourage the nascent tattlers in the Prime Minister's midst to come forward before the presidential vote. And if they do, there's no telling what ugly secrets could float to the surface this year -- or what methods could be used to push them back."
AAST: Chinese American Population Rises with Greater Diversity
Xinhua News Agency: "The Chinese American population has increased rapidly over the past decade, and has shown greater diversity and even bimodalism, a new study showed. Through a non-profit-academic partnership, the National Council of Chinese Americans (NCCA) and Asian American Studies Program (AAST) at University of Maryland on Thursday released a new snapshot of changing features of Chinese American communities. Up to 2009, the total population of Chinese Americans has risen to around 3.64 million, constituting 1.2 percent of the entire U.S. population, said the study titled 'A New Profile of Chinese Americans in a New Century.' The Chinese American population increased 33.3 percent during the period between 2000 and 2009, according to the study, which based its analysis on data from Census Bureau's '2009 American Community Survey' and other Census data. 'We are talking about a time period in which China is also rising as a national power and international player,' Larry Shinagawa, director of the AAST, said at a press conference in Washington, D.C. 'We are seeing them become mayors. For the very first time in recorded history, we now have'a mayor of San Francisco who is Chinese American. We have congresspersons who are Chinese Americans,' he said. "What we are seeing is that Chinese Americans are going to the forefront of politics, economics, business, non-profit and education.' The findings of this study showed four general themes of the Chinese American communities: diversity, concentration, bimodalism, and low returns on investments. 'Even though Chinese Americans have similarities in core ancestry, set of languages, Asian history, and American history, the Chinese American community warrants a more nuanced and in-depth understanding of its diversity,' said the study."
Science & Technology
Hadley: AAAS: Large Hadron Collider to Prove 'God Particle Theory Within Two Years'
The existence of the so-called "God Particle" Higgs Boson theory could be proved within two years or it probably does not exist, Large Hadron Collider scientists have said. Daily Telegraph, UK: "Officials at the Swiss-based accelerator have announced that the 5bn pounds machine's closure had been put back by a year because it was running so well. Scientists had been due to shut down the accelerator at the end of this year for a major refit but that has been put back until the end of 2012. The decision means that scientists will have another year to carry out physics experiments while the machine is running at half power. It will then shut for 15 months before reopening to run at full capacity. The beam energy for 2011 will be 3.5 TeV (trillion electron volts). It is designed to run at a maximum of 7 TeV. Scientists believe that it may even be possible to fulfil some of its major aims -- to prove the existence of the Higgs Boson or a theory called supersymmetry -- at the lower power. On Monday, researchers disclosed that they had hoped to have compiled enough data by the end of the year to confirm or reject claims about the Higgs Boson. They also hope to produce data pointing to the nature of dark matter, the discovery of a whole "new class of unanticipated subatomic curiosities" or the existence of extra dimensions, the American Association for the Advancement of Science's annual meeting in Washington was told. If the 'Higgs' was not found, physicists would have to reassess the 'Standard Model', or the theory of subatomic structure that ranks as one of physics' biggest achievements. 'By the end of next year, we hope very much that we will be able to say something about the Higgs,' Felicitas Pauss, head of international relations at the CERN nuclear research centre, told the conference. Some scientists say that failing to find the Higgs boson would 'actually be more intriguing than finding it'. Nicholas Hadley, from the University of Maryland, who is a member of the research team for the LHC's Compact Muon Solenoid detector, told reporters: 'If we don't see it, we will be very excited, because it means that there's something very brand-new. But to say we looked and we didn't find anything ... we'll probably volunteer to have other people stand up here in front of you if that day comes.' The schedule foresees beams back in the LHC and running through to mid December. There will then be a short technical stop over the year before resuming in early 2012."
McGaugh: Dark Matter Theory Challenged by Gassy Galaxies Result
BBC News: "A controversial theory that challenges the existence of dark matter has been buoyed by studies of gas-rich galaxies. Instead of invoking dark matter, the Modified Newtonian Dynamics theory says that the effects of gravity change in places where its pull is very low. The new paper suggests that Mond better predicts the relationship between gassy galaxies' rotation speeds and masses. However, critics maintain that dark matter theory is a better general description of the Universe we see. The study, available online, will be published in Physical Review Letters. The theory that first proposed dark matter was developed in large part to account for mass that, if everything else we think about gravity is correct, seemed to be missing in rotating galaxies. Standard formulations of gravity have it that matter circling, for instance, spiral galaxies, should rotate more slowly with increasing distance from the centre of the galaxy - much as the outer planets in our Solar System orbit more slowly than their innermost counterparts. But the matter in rotating galaxies seems consistently to rotate with roughly equal speed near their cores and at their edges. ... Now, Stacy McGaugh of the University of Maryland in the US, says that a study of galaxies that have few stars and are dominated by gas adds weight to the Mond theory. The current work hinges on what is known as the Tully-Fisher relation, which maps out the interplay between galaxies' mass and their speed of rotation. However, mass estimation is a tricky business because it depends on the amount of light a galaxy emits, which varies considerably with the types and quantities of stars it contains. To get around this error, Professor McGaugh studied 47 gas-rich galaxies with few stars, known as low surface-brightness galaxies. He found that the Mond theory neatly predicts the relation between the galaxies' masses with their rotation speed - and contends that dark matter theory would do so far less accurately. 'My attitude toward low surface brightness galaxies at first was "great, this will finally be able to falsify the Mond theory",' Professor McGaugh told BBC News, 'but it was the only thing that explains this shift in the relation.' 'Whenever I look at smallish things like individual galaxies it works really well.' However, he conceded that 'when you get up to the big scale of clusters of galaxies and you try to apply Mond to the whole thing, you fall short of fixing the missing mass problem'."
Veilleux: Quasar's Belch Solves Longstanding Mystery
Gemini Observatory: "When two galaxies merge to form a giant, the central supermassive black hole in the new galaxy develops an insatiable appetite. However, this ferocious appetite is unsustainable. For the first time, observations with the Gemini Observatory clearly reveal an extreme, large-scale galactic outflow that brings the cosmic dinner to a halt. The outflow is effectively blowing the galaxy apart in a negative feedback loop, depriving the galaxy's monstrous black hole of the gas and dust it needs to sustain its frenetic growth. It also limits the material available for the galaxy to make new generations of stars. The groundbreaking work is a collaboration between David Rupke of Rhodes College in Tennessee and the University of Maryland's Sylvain Veilleux. The results are to be published in the March 10 issue of The Astrophysical Journal Letters and were completed with support from the U.S. National Science Foundation. According to Veilleux, Markarian 231 (Mrk 231), the galaxy observed with Gemini, is an ideal laboratory for studying outflows caused by feedback from supermassive black holes. "This object is arguably the closest and best example that we know of a big galaxy in the final stages of a violent merger and in the process of shedding its cocoon and revealing a very energetic central quasar. This is really a last gasp of this galaxy; the black hole is belching its next meals into oblivion!" As extreme as Mrk 231's eating habits appear, Veilleux adds that they are probably not unique: "When we look deep into space and back in time, quasars like this one are seen in large numbers, and all of them may have gone through shedding events like the one we are witnessing in Mrk 231."
Kim: Researchers Study How Boiling Is Altered in Zero-Gravity
International Business Times: "Researchers are studying how boiling is altered in zero-gravity, the results of which could help design space hardware. Because boiling works differently in a zero-gravity environment, it is difficult to design hardware that will not overheat or cause other problems, researchers say. Boiling is used on Earth to power turbines and sometimes as a cooling method (boiling liquid carries away heat). 'In space, boiling may be required to generate vapor to power turbines in some advanced concepts for power generation, for temperature control aboard spacecraft, and for water purification," says professor Jungho Kim of the A. James Clark School's Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Maryland. When a liquid is boiled on Earth, vapor, which is less dense than liquid, is removed from heated surfaces through buoyancy. In zero-gravity, the buoyancy force becomes negligible and vapor can blanket the heated surfaces rather than moving away, potentially leading the surfaces to a state known as critical heat flux. Continued heating above this limit for prolonged periods can cause the heater to burn itself out. Determination of the critical heat flux in microgravity is essential for designing cooling systems for space. 'Since liquids boil differently in space, an understanding of how these fluids behave can improve the reliability and expand the applications of space exploration hardware,' says Kim."
Society & Culture
Weinberg: Being Bilingual a Good Brain Work-Out, Experts Say
Reuters: "Speaking more than one language protects the brain against cognitive decline and makes a person better at multi-tasking, researchers said Friday at a major US science conference. Being bilingual, or even learning a second language late in life, has been shown to slow the decline of some key brain functions, said Ellen Bialystok of York University in Canada, at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). A study co-authored by Bialystok found that people who spoke more than one language were diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease 4.3 years later and reported the onset of symptoms 5.1 years later than monolingual patients. Another study, the results of which have not yet been published, used computed tomography, or CT, scans to show that bilinguals had the same level of cognitive decline as monolinguals even when the people who spoke multiple languages were at a more advanced stage of Alzheimer's, Bialystok said. ... Cognitive reserve has been defined by Yaakov Stern of Columbia University's Department of Neurology as the ability to recruit different brain networks to optimize brain performance. 'Bilingualism is a cognitively demanding condition that contributes to cognitive reserve in much the same way as do other stimulating intellectual and social activities,' said the study co-authored by Bialystok and published in Neurology late last year. Other studies have found that bilingual people are better than monolinguals at shutting out distractions and focusing on what's important, which makes them better at multi-tasking, Amy Weinberg of the University of Maryland said at the conference. 'Getting to some level of proficiency in a second language certainly makes you an expert multi-tasker,' Weinberg, a professor of linguistics, told AFP. 'When you're speaking, all the languages you speak are turned on, and you have to activate a mechanism in the brain that allows you to limit interference from one language when talking in the other,' she said. 'You're juggling all kinds of mental balls as a bilingual,' she said."
Gray: To Escape Blame, Be a Victim, Not a Hero, New Study Finds
UM release: "Great works and praiseworthy behavior may bring respect and admiration, but these won't help us to escape blame when we do something wrong, says a new study by researchers at the University of Maryland and Harvard University. To do that, the researchers say, one needs to be a victim not a hero! In the study, participants responded to a number of scenarios that mirrored real-life moral transgressions, from stealing money to harming someone. Results revealed that, no matter how many previous good deeds someone had done, they received just as much blame -- if not more -- than someone with a less heroic background. 'People may come down even harder on someone like the Dalai Lama, than they do on 'Joe Blow,' said author Kurt Gray, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Maryland.' 'However, in our research those who have suffered in the past received significantly less blame -- even if such suffering was both totally unrelated to the misdeed and long since past.' The article, titled 'To Escape Blame, Don't be a Hero -- be a Victim' is published in the March issue of the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. The findings are based on three experiments conducted by Gray and Daniel Wegner, professor of psychology at Harvard University. 'Our research suggests that morality is not like some kind of cosmic bank, where you can deposit good deeds and use them to offset future misdeeds,' said Gray, who directs the Mind Perception and Morality Lab at the University of Maryland. 'Instead, people ignore heroic pasts -- or even count them against you -- when assigning blame.' "
Washington: the 'Blackest Name' in America
AP: " 'They were thinking about how they could be Americans,' Goodheart says. 'That they would embrace the name of this person who was an imperfect hero shows there was a certain understanding of this country as an imperfect place, an imperfect experiment, and a willingness to embrace that tradition of liberty with all its contradictions.' Many black people took new names after the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and the black power movement, says Ira Berlin, a University of Maryland history professor who has written books on the history of African-Americans. 'Names are this central way we think about ourselves,' Berlin says. 'Whenever we have these kinds of emancipatory moments, suddenly people can reinvent themselves, rethink themselves new, distinguish themselves from a past where they were denigrated and abused. New names are one of the ways they do it.' But for black people who chose the name Washington, it's rarely certain precisely why.
Ratner: Stuttering Takes a Star Turn on Screen, and in Research
New York Times: "In the Oscar-nominated movie 'The King's Speech,' King George VI begins stuttering at 4 and struggles with it throughout his life. But he rarely talks like the stereotypical stutterer, Porky Pig, rapidly repeating letter sounds; usually the king has trouble getting sounds out from the get-go, blocked by sputtering pauses. His stutter is aggravated by stressful situations, like confronting his brother or addressing the public. He speaks better when playing with his daughters, singing words or inserting profanity, or when music blaring in his ears keeps him from hearing himself. These are complicated symptoms, but experts say these details, devised by a screenwriter who stuttered, mirror many aspects of actual stuttering. In that complexity are clues to this often devastating disorder's cause, say scientists who are starting to untangle the underpinnings of stuttering in hopes of finding better treatment. ... Stuttering, which affects about 5 percent of children, usually begins between age 2 and 6. While about 50 percent of stutterers have family members who stuttered, it is so far impossible to know who will develop it. One of the disorder's most intriguing characteristics, scientists now say, is that a child exhibits no signs of the disorder until it strikes, usually when talking becomes more complicated. While communication disorders and speech delays may be predicted from a baby's babble or developmental trajectory, 'we really have not been able to find indicators of stuttering before the first day it emerges,' said Nan Ratner, an expert at University of Maryland. 'Everything looks fine and suddenly it doesn't look fine.' The late start contributed to myths that bad parenting could cause stuttering, she said. Stuttering usually begins not with a child's first words, she said, and 'not even with two-word utterances like "doggie bark," ' but 'when you're starting with the grammar of the language, prepositions and helping verbs and little words of the kind that you leave out' when composing a text message. ... Only about a third of stuttering children have other language or speech problems, but Dr. Ratner found that while stutterers perform within normal limits on standardized tests, on average their scores are lower than nonstutterers. Genes almost certainly play a role for about half of all stutterers. Dennis Drayna, a scientist at the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, has identified gene mutations that appear to be associated with stuttering in a Pakistani family and others. But he and others say there are likely to be different mutations related to stuttering in other families. Environmental factors may contribute too. Trauma and stress do not cause stuttering, but can exacerbate it, Dr. Ratner said, and stuttering can cause anxiety that makes the experience worse."
Peterson: Book Sheds Light on Black Elite in 19th Century New York
Voice of America: 'Black Gotham' explores the experiences of African-Americans who lived free in the north, while the slavery debate raged in the south Audio: "While many Americans are familiar with black slavery in the South during the 19th Century and its role in igniting the nation's great Civil War, less attention has been paid to the black experience in northern cities such as New York, where so-called 'freedmen' lived. Now, a new book, 'Black Gotham,' by University of Maryland Professor Carla Peterson, shines a light on their remarkable stories. Much of the history of black 19th-Century New York has been lost, in part because it was eclipsed in the popular imagination by the saga of southern slavery. Additionally, mostly-white academic historians minimized the contributions of African-Americans. And no comprehensive archive of black life existed until the 20th Century, when the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture was established. Peterson's ancestors were distinguished members of the city's black elite and she felt theirs was a powerful story that needed to be told. She spent 11 years researching and writing her book. 'Writing this book was very important to me,' says Peterson. 'It was a journey of hard work, but also of love and passion.' Led by free blacks such as clergyman Alexander Crummell, newspaper editor Charles Ray and businessman George Downing, members of New York's black elite tried to establish themselves as full Americans, not merely as 'Africans' or 'coloreds' as black slaves had once been called and called themselves."
PPC, Editorial: How Would You Balance the Budget? Try Our Interactive Exercise
Our view: As the government deadlocks, The Baltimore Sun invites you to offer your own solution
"The other option for balancing the budget -- tax increases -- was anathema to those polled; only 9 percent favored that idea. Given all that, politicians could be excused for thinking the public wants them to talk a lot about cutting the deficit but not to actually do it. But the Program for Public Consultation, a joint project of the University of Maryland's School of Social Policy and the Center on Policy Attitudes, contends that the problem isn't that Americans are selfish or confused. It's that we're not asking the questions the right way. They developed a computer application that educates voters on the size of the nation's problem and gives them the chance to adjust the level of spending on a variety of federal programs - either up or down - with constant feedback on how their actions affect the size of the projected deficit. Participants then were asked about various proposals for altering the nation's tax system and given the same information about how their choices would increase or decrease the deficit. Separate exercises asked them to consider options to strengthen Social Security and Medicare. The researchers who designed the study presented it to a statistical sample of Americans and found that they were much more willing to enact both broad cuts and tax increases than the leaders who represent them. On average, they were able to reduce the discretionary budget deficit by 70 percent. A majority of respondents was able to come up with a plan for making Social Security solvent, too. As part of its effort to educate the public about the choices the nation faces, the program made its budget exercise available on The Sun's website. You can find it at baltimoresun.com/budgetexercise. We ask that readers who complete the exercise send us feedback about the choices they made at email@example.com. We will follow up next month on the editorial page with a comparison of the solutions offered by President Obama, congressional Republicans, the sample of Americans surveyed by the Program for Policy Consultation and Sun readers."
Kettl: How to Shut Down the Government: A Primer
Huffington Post: Don Kettl, Dean of the School of Public Policy, writes: "So, you'd like to shut down the federal government? Here's an easy how-to primer, in four easy steps. First, just sit there; no action required. The federal government is exactly the opposite of the private sector. In the private sector, you can do anything you want, as long as it's not forbidden by law. In government, you can do only what the law specifically requires. No money, no work. This is the easy part. The federal government's current authority to spend money expires on March 4. If Congress does nothing, the government can't spend money. Congress was supposed to have passed a new budget before the government's official new year's day on October 1. It didn't -- and passed a short-term continuing resolution (called a CR up on Capitol Hill). Actually a couple CRs. One expired in December, and that was extended until March. Call it CRazy, but when the current CR expires, so does the government's ability to do anything that spends money. Well, almost. Some government operations are self-funded, like the US Mint and the Postal Service. Because they raise their own money, they can stay open. Some government operations -- mostly entitlements -- have permanent appropriations, and money continues to flow until the law is changed. So, the government could continue to pay Social Security. It's just that it can't pay anyone to sit in the Social Security offices to process applications. However, during the government shutdowns 15 years ago, complaints built up so fast that exceptions were made. Congress stays in business. The President still goes to work. So does the cabinet. But they're very limited in what they can do. That leads to the second step. Don't plan on doing business with the federal government."
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