News highlights for August 23, 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.
Brain activated when monetary opportunities arise

Whether it’s sports, poker or the high-stakes world of business, there are those who always find a way to win when there’s money on the table. The findings by psychology researchers at Washington University in St. Louis may help to unravel the workings of a novel brain network that may explain how these “money players” manage to keep their heads in the game. Findings suggest that a specific brain area helps people use the prospect of success to better prepare their thoughts and actions, thus increasing odds that a reward will be won. See also Holy Kaw. Related news release

Wired Science

Newly discovered chlorophyll catches infrared light

August 20, 2010

A new kind of chlorophyll that catches sunlight from just beyond the red end of the visible light spectrum has been discovered. The new pigment extends the known range of light that is usable by most photosynthetic organisms. Harnessing this pigment’s power could lead to biofuel-generating algae that are super-efficient, using a greater spread of sunlight than thought possible. “This is a very important new development, and is the first new type of chlorophyll discovered in an oxygenic organism in 60 years,” says biological chemist Robert Blankenship of Washington University in St. Louis. Link to Article

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Whooping cough outbreak spurs awareness efforts
Missouri has reported 82 confirmed cases of pertussis in the last month. No one knows exactly why this is happening. In the 1920s and ’30s, pertussis was a feared childhood killer, but a vaccine campaign virtually eliminated the disease by the 1970s. Recent research has shown that the protection provided by the vaccine wears off over time, Aaron Miller, a pediatrician at the hospital and an instructor of pediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine, says the CDC now recommends that all children receive a booster shot at 11 or 12 and that adults receive the same booster.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
E-cigarette lovers meet amid growing outcry. Opponents call for ban until the FDA approves devices.

They prefer to be called “vapers,” but really they’re electronic cigarette users. And on early Friday evening, dozens of them roamed a conference room at the downtown Sheraton Hotel on 14th Street, sucking on cylinders about 4 inches long. Dr. Walton Sumner, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine at Washington University, who has written papers for the journal Tobacco Control, believes e-cigarettes are no more dangerous than caffeine. While nicotine is addictive, most health problems with regular cigarettes come from chemicals in smoke, he said. But he also understands the FDA’s concerns. Link to Article

Riverfront Times
From Mark Twain to Jonathan Franzen, St. Louis has been home to a surprising number of great writers
The RFT’s series on great St. Louis writers focuses in part 3 on writers with ties to Washington University in St. Louis, including Howard Nemerov and Stanley Elkin. Link to Article

KPLR 11 TV – St. Louis MO
Charter School: ‘Knowledge Is Power Program’
Aug 20, 2010
Washington University in St. Louis sponsors the Knowledge Is Power program or “KIPP” academy, which is located in South St. Louis. This is the first charter school for the University. Once kids graduate from KIPP, the staff will help kids get into college and find financial aid. Link to Article / Online video

News in higher education

New York Times

Students, welcome to college; Parents, go home
As the latest wave of super-involved parents delivers its children to college, institutions are building into the day — normally one of high emotion — activities meant to punctuate and speed the separation. It is part of an increasingly complex process, in the age of Skype and twice-daily texts home, in which colleges are urging “Velcro parents” to back off so students can develop independence. Link to Article

The New York Times

Roommates who click
August 20, 2010

There was a time when every newcomer arrived on campus to find a perfect stranger — not a perfect clone — sharing her tiny space. But that annual rite is being upended as more colleges let incoming students take advantage of new technologies to find an ideal mate. While many colleges still insist on pairing roommates themselves, either randomly or carefully, a growing number are turning the choice over to students. Some universities have contracted with matchmaking companies like Lifetopia and RoomBug, which offer secure Web-based services. Others are acceding to a wave of roommate requests from students who use unrestricted sites like URoomSurf, and others have created Facebook pages to help students share information.

Link to Article

The New York Times

Harvard finds scientist guilty of misconduct
August 20, 2010

Harvard University said Friday that it had found a prominent researcher, Marc Hauser, “solely responsible” for eight instances of scientific misconduct. Dr. Hauser is a leader in the field of animal and human cognition, and in 2006 wrote a well-received book, “Moral Minds: How Nature Designed Our Universal Sense of Right and Wrong.” Harvard’s findings against him, if sustained, may cast a shadow over the broad field of scientific research that depended on the particular research technique often used in his experiments.

Link to Article

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