News highlights for August 17, 2010

CisionPoint news monitoring provides this small sampling of the university's daily news coverage. Click headline to read full text via Cision or link directly to the online article where available. For questions or comments about this service, or to add or delete a name from the mailing list, please contact Gerry Everding

The Telegraph (UK)

Human Microbiome Project: a map of every bacterium in the body


The Human Microbiome Project is unraveling the vastly important job that the unseen bacteria and microbes that live in and on our bodies play in human health. “We should no longer think of these organisms in isolation,” says Professor George Weinstock, a geneticist at Washington University in St Louis, Missouri. “They’re more like additional organs of our bodies.” Link to Article
Report: Unplugging frees your mind

Do our brains work differently when we are freed from our email devices and cell phones? That’s one of the questions five neuroscientists set out to answer in a week rafting the San Juan River in Utah in May. Their preliminary work was reported in the New York Times. Todd Braver, a psychology professor at Washington University in St. Louis participated. He told the paper there’s more to unplugging than just turning off our digital devices. “There’s a real mental freedom in knowing no one or nothing can interrupt you.” Two other rafters who were interviewed by Dr. Sanjay Gupta on Anderson Cooper 360 on Monday night. Link to Article/ Online Video See also Globe and Mail (UK) Link to Article

Scientific American
Invasive Species Lets Other Species Disrupt Environment

At Point Reyes National Seashore in Marin County, California, a plant called Tidestrom’s lupine is holding on for dear life. Its survival has been threatened by the appearance of another plant, an invasive species called European beachgrass. So, does the beachgrass simply outcompete the lupines for land and light? Not at all, according to researchers at Washington University in St. Louis. Tiny deer mice have a taste for the seeds of the lupines. Related news release
Link to Article
Marine Biological Laboratory Receives $3.4 Million to Establish National Resource for Study of Regeneration

WOODS HOLE, MA—The Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) today announced that it has received a 5-year, $3.4 million grant to establish a national resource for the aquatic frog known as Xenopus, a major model organism used in regenerative biology research. Robert Grainger of the University of Virginia, a world expert on Xenopus as a model for basic and translational research, is the Principal Investigator on the grant. His collaborators are experts in the field, including Kristen Kroll, Washington University in St. Louis. She will serve as an adviser to the facility. Link to Article

CrimProf Blog
Forman on School Searches

Sarah Jane Forman of the Washington University School of Law in St. Louis has posted Countering Criminalization: Toward a Youth Development Approach to School Searches on SSRN. This article focuses on one aspect of school disciplinary enforcement: the search and seizure of students and their property while at school. Link to Article

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
WU rated region’s ‘best’: U.S. News & World Report lists U of I, SLU, Mizzou among top 100 colleges.
University in St. Louis is the best university in the region, according to the most closely watched of college rankings, the U.S. News & World Report list, which is being released today. Washington U. ranked 13th overall, with a score of 86. It was 12th last year. Other area schools that were ranked, in order: University of Illinois – No. 47 this year after being 39 a year ago. Louis University – 86 this year, 88 last year. University of Missouri – 94 this year, 102 last. Link to Article

Saint Louis Beacon
Analysis: Note to judge suggests Blagojevich jury might acquit former governor on some charges

While the jury in the Rod Blagojevich corruption trial took the weekend off, court watchers had time to read between the lines of the jury’s cryptic note to the judge and to reflect on the Blagojevich trial strategy. Kathleen Brickey, a Washington University law school professor and expert on white-collar crime, said that if she were Judge James Zagel, she would tell the jury to begin at the bottom of the indictment instead of the top. The simpler charges involving false statements, bribery and attempted extortion are at the bottom of the indictment, while the more complicated racketeering and wire fraud charges are at the top. Link to Article

News in higher education

USA Today
Get college textbooks for less by renting instead of buying

Joe Turant pointed to the rent-a-text signs in Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Florham Park, N.J., bookstore window last month and told his incoming freshman daughter, Caitlyn, “That’s what you’re doing.” With potential savings up to 50% off the price of a new textbook, the Colonia, N.J., father says renting textbooks will free up money for other things, such as the meal plan. Link to Article

USA Today
College grads with an ‘A’ in credit history have advantage
It’s not unusual for college freshmen to come home for the holidays with some interesting new ideas, a few extra pounds and a couple of tattoos. But here’s something most college students won’t bring home this Thanksgiving: a credit card. The credit card reform bill signed into law last year prohibits lenders from issuing cards to individuals under 21 unless they can prove they can make payments or get a parent or guardian to co-sign. Link to Article

Chicago Tribune
Get the most bang for your college buck
It is generally true that you get what you pay for, but not necessarily when it comes to higher education. A study released Monday about the value of a college education, at least when it comes to the basics, has found the opposite to be true in most cases. Forget Harvard and think Lamar. The Texas university, where tuition runs about $7,000 per year (Harvard’s is $38,000), earns an A to Harvard’s D based on an analysis of the universities’ commitment to core subjects deemed essential to a well-rounded, competitive education. Link to Article

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The Chronicle of Higher Education
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